Google's New Ad Policy - The Industry Responds
This morning, we reported that Google had made a few vital tweaks to its developer program policy – but one area we didn't look too closely at was its changes to mobile advertising policy, which has now been given its own section of the policy. Developers will now be responsible for how ads behave in their app, just like the app itself – and if an ad in their app breaks the rules, the whole app could get pulled.
There are also a list of restrictions to what in-app ads are not allowed to do – including making changes to the device outside of the ad by installing shortcuts or changing default settings without explicit consent, impersonating system notifications or warnings, or force users to submit personal information to access the app.
They're little changes, and only fair, but certainly worth some attention. As quickly became clear from the amount of companies clamouring to say their part on the matter.
The industry responds
James Hilton, global CEO of M&C Saatchi Mobile, thinks the move, and its clamp-down on intrusive in-app ads in particular, should be applauded. “The move will help to prevent mobile advertising becoming a nuisance to customers and ensure its power to deliver contextual, beneficial relevance,” Hilton told Mobile Marketing. “Anyone who has ever used the internet will know how misleading some adverts can be - namely intrusive pop-ups and service warnings. This will pave the way for better regulation and protection that will benefit brands and users. The growth of mobile advertising over the past few years has left the industry at a vital crossroads where it must be protected from harmful, abrasive adverts that could bring disrepute to the medium. This is further evidence of the death of cheap mobile advertising as high-quality, targeted campaigns take centre stage.”
Ed Vause, managing director of app discovery platform appromoter, thinks it could help turn the app tide in Android's favour. “With recent reports highlighting that developers appear to prefer iOS, the changes to Google app policies couldn't have come at a better time,” he said. “While Android is the most prolific platform, its open nature has led to a few weeds getting in with the lack of uniformity that developers clearly like about iOS. What was once the trickiest platform to develop for is now becoming more developer friendly.”
And Scott Bown, as app developer Mubaloo's head of Android, is understandably enthusiastic about the measures. “This has been a long time coming,” Bown told us. “Despite Android's rise, it has always suffered from a small minority of developers who seek to extract data and disrupt the user experience. The new changes to the Play store content policy will be great for Android users and reduce the spam and junk apps that have cluttered the store since the beginning. It will be interesting to see how this will be policed moving forwards, and whether Google starts to behave more like Apple and Microsoft.”